The way you interact with potential clients and people in your network is a direct reflection on you, and your business.
Check out these eight mistakes to see if you are sending the wrong message.
1. No Thanks
Not acknowledging people and saying thank you when someone does something kind is not cool. For example, if someone introduces you to a potential client or gives you a valuable resource you definitely want to thank them.
SOLUTION: It’s pretty easy to say thank you (or write it in an email). And for such an easy thing, it sure goes a long way in building relationships. I like to send thank you notes in the mail (snail mail).
2. Slow to Answer Email
Not replying promptly to your email sends a message to people that you’re not interested in them.
SOLUTION: If you don’t have time to reply to an e-mail send a short e-mail back saying that you don’t have time right now and say when you plan to respond.
Or you can add an auto reply to all of your emails that explains when, and how often, you read and respond to email (Tim Ferriss style, author of The 4-Hour Work Week). It’s all about expecatations.
3. Breaking a Promise
Promising to do something for someone and then not following through doesn’t build trust.
SOLUTION: If something happens and you aren’t able to deliver, simply acknowledge it. Hiding from it or ignoring it won’t make it go away. Just be honest and let the person know what’s going on and when you will be able to deliver.
4. No Out of Office Message
When you go on vacation, or you’re out of office for a few days, it’s bad business if you don’t activate an out-of-office auto reply that says you are out and when you’ll be back.
SOLUTION: No-brainer. Create an out-of-office reply (and enjoy your time off).
5. Ezine Fails
This one is really three mistakes about the same topic. 1. Sending out your ezine as an attachment to an email. 2. Sending your ezine to people who haven’t asked for it (otherwise known as spam). 3. Sending out your ezine sporadically.
SOLUTION: Attachments are not appealing for several reasons: virus threat, large file size, and they add an extra step to get to the information. Allow people to sign up for your newsletter and use a service to send out your communications.
Make sure the service provides a ‘double opt-in’ subscription process. A great resource for this is AWeber or the free up to 2,000 subscribers option of MailChimp. Decide on a schedule (every Tuesday, 2nd Wednesday of the month, etc.) and stick to it. Reliability and consistency build trust.
6. No Email Capture on Your Website
You’re missing a huge opportunity if you don’t capture visitor’s email addresses on your website.
SOLUTION: Offer something valuable for free (audio tips, special report, assessment, checklist) in exchange for a visitor’s email address. Automate the process with a service like AWeber or MailChimp.
7. Being Invisible
Not having a photo on your social networking profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) really sticks out, and not in a good way. People want to see who you are.
SOLUTION: Have a professional photo taken; it’s more than worth it. And until then, even a decent vacation picture with is better than nothing.
8. No Clickable Link in Your Email Signature
Don’t miss out on the chance to share a ‘clickable’ link to your website with a call to action in your email signature.
SOLUTION: Decide the one action you want people to take who are interested in your business and put that in your email signature with a ‘live’ link.
I hope you’re starting to see how making some tiny changes can have an enormous effect on the success of your business. Don’t delay; take the time to be sure you’re sending the right messages.
© Stephanie Ward
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What other business mistakes do you see people making? Share your thoughts and questions on this topic in the comments section below.